Shasta Alpine Hut at Mount Shasta

A base camp for all in the California high country

The Sierra Club Foundation owns and operates the historic Shasta Alpine Hut, a climbers’ hut located on 720 acres that has long been a popular base camp for climbers and hikers on Mount Shasta. The property is popularly known as "Horse Camp," a reference to the days when climbers left the town of Mt. Shasta and rode to the hut to start their climb up the mountain.

Located at an altitude of 7,884 feet, the hut offers low-impact campsites, a seasonal source of fresh water, and emergency shelter during the winter. During the late-May through September climbing season, the hut is staffed by friendly, knowledgeable caretakers. The hut houses a guest register, a small library of mountain books and displays, and a lost-and-found board for climbers.

Mount Shasta is at the south end of the Cascade Range in Northern California, the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest peak in California. The mountain, which is now part of the Shasta–Trinity National Forest, was originally home to the Shasta, Modoc, Achumawi, Wintu, and Okwanuchu Tribes. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Tribes were decimated and much displaced by a progression of mostly white trappers, miners, and settlers. The Tribes today still work to re-establish their Tribal heritages on the mountain and elsewhere.  

The Shasta Alpine Hut was the starting point for John Muir during his climb in 1874 and again for Harry Babcock during his ascent of three hours and forty minutes in 1883. The Shasta Alpine Hut was built in 1922 with monies donated by Matthew Hall McAlister, a prominent Sierra Club member at that time. It was originally constructed of local materials including volcanic rock and Shasta red fir. The deteriorating roof and trusses were replaced in 2004.

In 2017, the Sierra Club Foundation teamed up with Mount Shasta-based Marrone Construction, the United States Forest Service, and numerous other collaborators to construct detailed trailhead signs at the Bunny Flat trailhead. The trailhead sits at 6,950 feet and serves as the primary access point to the mountain for climbers, hikers, skiers, and nature-lovers. The signage explains the importance of the area, the topography, the ecosystem, and much more.

For information on visiting the Shasta Alpine Hut and surrounding land, click here.

For information on visiting school field trips, click here.


Photo Credits:

Mike Hupp, Dawn Patrol Images